Enes Kanter Freedom, the fervently pro-America NBA center who has steadfastly spoken out against the Communist Chinese regime in China, slammed NBA star LeBron James after James made a comment regarding WNBA star Brittney Griner that appeared to slam America.
Griner has been detained in Russia on drug charges; she pled guilty to bringing hashish oil into Russia.
“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James said of Griner. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?’”
LeBron James says if he were Brittney Griner, he'd question returning to the United States. https://t.co/f8y7bKtoZk
— TMZ (@TMZ) July 12, 2022
After James was harshly criticized, he tweeted, “My comments on ‘The Shop’ regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country. I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days!”
My comments on “The Shop” regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country. I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 13, 2022
Enes Kanter Freedom, who had changed his last name to Freedom, as he acknowledged, “That was the word that I fought for my whole life,” fired at James, “You call it a step back, we call this a walk back. You are free to leave buddy or you can even volunteer for an exchange for her. Some people literally have NO idea what is it like to live in a dictatorship. Keep taking your freedom for granted.”
You call it a step back, we call this a walk back.
You are free to leave buddy or you can even volunteer for an exchange for her.
Some people literally have NO idea what is it like to live in a dictatorship.
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) July 13, 2022
Last October, Freedom called on the Chinese government to “Free Tibet,” ripping China’s “brutal rule.”
“What followed was the Chinese streaming service Tencent blacking out all Celtics games on the platform, as well as removing replays of previous Celtics games,” The Daily Wire reported. “But the response from China didn’t deter Kanter Freedom, as he continued to post videos and messages to his social media accounts calling out the Chinese government for their record of human rights abuses.”
The following month, he officially became a U.S. citizen, prompting a letter from former President of the United States George W. Bush congratulating him.
“What an honor! Huge thanks to 43rd president of the U.S. George W. Bush,” Freedom tweeted.“I’m proud to be a citizen of the United States of America, the land of the free and home of the brave. I will never take for granted the Freedoms that I have here.”
What an honor!
Huge thanks to 43rd president of the U.S. George W. Bush
I’m proud to be a citizen of the United States of America, the land of the free and home of the brave. 🇺🇸
I will never take for granted the Freedoms that I have here. pic.twitter.com/WAtTcLUMwb
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) December 27, 2021
In February, Freedom spoke with Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute about his long-standing criticism of China.
“Many of the athletes, or not just from the NBA, but all around every league, or coaches or people who has anything to do with sports, are scared to support me out loud,” Freedom commented. Whenever I have a conversation privately, they’re like, ‘Listen, man. You know, we love you. We support you. We’re going to pray for you. But we just cannot do it out loud.’ And I was like, ‘Okay.’”
“Why is it, do you think, that so few athletes are speaking out?” Thiessen asked.
“Fear,” Freedom answered. “I think they care too much about their jersey sales, their shoe sales, endorsement deals, their next contract with whatever organization or association they’re playing with. The business that they’re going to lose. I grew up as knowing that there are bigger things than money in business. That’s what my family always taught me.”
“Every time I talk to an athlete, I have said this,” Freedom declared. “Think about this. If your mother, if your father, if your sister, if your daughter, if your wife was on those concentration camps right now in China, getting tortured and raped every day, would you still remain silent? Would you still go to that country and compete and be part of the propaganda?”
“I have not seen one person, or I have not seen one athlete, that answer me that question. They are staying silent. They are not saying yes or no. They just remain silent because they know it’s a shame,” he charged, adding, “All the gold medals in the world that you champion is not more important than your morals, your principle and your values. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth selling your morals to a country like China.”
Asked if he was concerned he would pay a personal price for your outspokenness when his contract came up for renewal, Freedom responded:
I’ve been in communication with so many people around the league, and especially my ex-teammates and my assistant coaches. They’re like, “Listen, man, we love you. So we have to tell you the truth. This is your farewell tour. Enjoy it. Smile. Have fun with it. I hope you win a championship, because I don’t think you are going to get another contract after this year, because the things that you talk about cost them millions of dollars.”